The Droid has finally landed in Verizon Wireless stores and the force is with this smartphone.
Apparently, these are the Droids you're looking for.
The marketing alliance of Verizon, Google and Motorola has made the Droid's debut nearly impossible to miss. And Verizon hasn’t even warmed up yet. AdAge reports that Verizon will spend $100 million in marketing the Droid before the end of the year, the brand's biggest spending push ever, with new ads debuting tonight.
Google on Friday gave the Droid prime real estate on their homepage. Under a jovial Bert and Ernie was a rare promotional link: “New! The Droid is on sale now. Learn more."
And in real-world ad space, Verizon on Friday took over Times Square, in a first-of-its-kind promotion allowing users to control billboards with voice commands.
Business has been shuffling in and out of Verizon stores. While no iPhone-style lines have been reported, commerce has been healthy. According to Daily Finance, calls have gone out in for reserves.
“We're gonna need more phones," cried out a Verizon Wireless store manager in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood.
Verizon won’t release sales figures for individual units, but did acknowledge that “a lot” of Droids were sold over the weekend.
Even without precise numbers, analysts remain positive on the brand's potential for success. Citigroup analyst Jim Suva, in a research note released Monday, views the Droid as a turning point in Verizon’s dwindling performance figures:
We don't believe investors expected an iPhone like launch but rather a first step in a cadence of products that will help bring Motorola's handsets out of the death spiral.
Verizon and Google have been granted a license by George Lucas’ LucasFilm for use of the “Droid” name. With the dark tone of the Droid's "iDon't" ad, some industry professionals doubt the resonance of such a futuristic brand association. Peter Dixon, creative director at Prophet, is among them, suggesting "the sci-fi positioning is kind of a gamble."
But with strong reviews from tech bloggers, it seems doubtful that the ad's positioning will inhibit the phone's appeal to a broader audience. In addition, Verizon should make existing customers happy with this exciting smartphone.